It should come as no surprise to anyone that senior management is demanding more accountability from marketers. Even though, for some companies, profits are at record levels other brands are struggling to get and keep fickle consumers. Marketing, at its heart, is still about getting consumers to purchase your product. What has changed is that consumers have too many devices and have the attention span of someone with a severe case of ADD.
I’m always amazed at all the awards that the agency world bestows to themselves. Never is the question of “what did the advertising do for your client” asked. Instead would be Hollywood Directors take a bow for 30 second or 60 second masterpieces produced at the expense of clients.
Not too long ago I read an article that said “there is a disconnect between agencies and clients”. I have seen this many times as untalented marketers look to promote themselves instead of their products. When asked to justify their marketing budgets, they like to bury results in marketing terminology that senior executives don’t understand. But that’s starting to change.
I recently sat in, at a client’s request, on a pitch by an inbound marketing company for a consumer product. After the pitch I started to ask some questions that made the agency people very uncomfortable including “what has been the ROI on past campaigns?” and “what research do you have to support that consumers want to have an inbound marketing relationship with our product?”. In the end, I advised the client to skip the inbound marketing and focus on basics including an FSI drop. The result was over a 40% increase in sell through.
It might seem like I’m anti-agency here, but I’m not. What I am really against are big agencies whose objective is to get as much money from the client as possible without any accountability. Making a VP of marketing look good while sales decline is an exercise in futility.
The number one question any marketing ask of an agency is “how can we increase sales?” The reality is that awareness of products does little to drive sell through and don’t fall the trap that your target customer wants to have a social media relationship with your brand.
The business of marketing has to change bit rather than radical change we need to get back to the basics of making customers happy and simple execution. Dropping and FSI supported by heavy up front TV does no good if your products are hard to find at retail. All your best marketing can go down the tubes if your customer service department keeps people on hold and your customer service people are not authorized to solve customer problems.
Focus more on great marketing and less on the hype by “social media experts” and you’ll do just fine.